DYERSBURG, Tenn. — Walters State appeared to be on the verge of ending Dyersburg State's unbeaten streak to begin the season Saturday afternoon but couldn't hold on to a late second half lead.
The Senators pulled ahead midway through the second half but was the victim of a 15-3 run by the Eagles that helped propel Dyersburg State to an 89-84 win in a game played at Dyer County High School.
With the win, the Eagles improved to 10-0 on the year and 4-0 in Tennessee Community College Athletic Association play.
The loss dropped the Senators to 9-4 overall and 1-2 in league play, as the West Tennessee road trip ended in two losses for WSCC by a combined 11 points.
The first half of the game featured five ties and five lead changes, and the largest lead of the half was a 9-2 lead for the Senators less than three minutes into the game. But the Eagles rallied back to claim the lead before ti switched hands back and forth for a bit before Dyersburg State took a late lead and parlayed that into a 41-38 halftime lead.
Walters State dominated nearly every statistic in the first half except for turnovers, as the Senators committed 12 miscues compared to just five for the Eagles.
The Senators shot 53.1 percent (17 of 32) from the field in the opening half, misfiring on all four shots from 3-point range and making 4 of 7 from the free throw line. WSCC held a 26-18 edge in rebounding in the half, but allowing 18 points off their mistakes allowed the Eagles to claim the halftime lead. Khiry Shelton tossed in 12 points to lead the Senators in the frame.
Dyersburg State shot just 34.1 percent (15 of 44) from the floor in the first 20 minutes, making 5 of 19 from long distance and 6 of 9 at the foul line. Robert Atkins III posted 13 first half points for the Eagles.
Dyersburg State bolted out to a 6-point lead in the first six minutes of the second half, but an 8-0 run by the Senators put Walters State ahead 53-51. WSCC held the lead until the Eagles pulled back on top, 67-65, with 8:30 left in the contest. Less than three minutes later, the home team held a 78-68 lead as the clock ticked under six minutes left, as a 15-3 run put Dyersburg back in control.
The Senators cut the margin to six with four minutes left, and then again to just one, 85-84, on a dunk by Seth Lenard-Battle as the clock ticked under a minute left. Atkins hit a jumper with 26 seconds left to make it a 3-point lead again, and Kajuan Hale missed a 3-pointer that could have tied it, and the Eagles got the rebound and a layup in the closing seconds to seal the win.
Dyersburg State shot 40.5 percent (34 of 84) from the field in the win, making 11 of 36 from long range and 10 of 13 at the free throw line. The Eagles also scored 20 points off 16 Walters State turnovers and held a 35-30 edge in bench scoring.
Quentin Williams led the Eagles with 17 points, while Atkins added 15, Antwan Beans had 13 and Aaron King tallied 12 in the win.
The Senators shot 42.1 percent (32 of 76) in the contest, making only 2 of 15 from long distance and 18 of 34 at the charity stripe. WSCC did hold a 53-38 edge in rebounding in the loss.
The Senators had six players reach double figures in scoring, led by Shelton with 18 points and 13 rebounds, while Demontay Dixon had 13 points and 12 boards and Miles Thomas added 13 points and 9 rebounds. Lenard-Battle, Hale and Deontae Davis each added 11 points, with Hale dishing out 7 assists.
The Senators will return to the court Tuesday with a road game at Maryville College against the Scots' junior varsity club. The next home game will be on Friday against TCCAA rival Columbia State, beginning at 5:30 p.m.